Home Brushes Chikuhodo Kiwami

Chikuhodo Kiwami

by Sonia G.

This set is rare, expensive, a masterpiece. If you are an extreme make up brush lover, you either have it or you heard of it. I know a few of you own it but I think there aren’t any reviews online yet.

First question you may have (that I can even hear from here) is “is it worth it?” If this is the only thing that you want to know right now, I’ll say it: Yes it is, for an extreme makeup brush lover, it definitely is. If you want to know more, please stay with me!

This set is called the Kiwami, made by Tesshu Takemori, Chairman of Chikuhodo, to commemorate the 60th Birthday of the Company founded in 1952. Not sure if the set is LE (I am waiting for their confirmation) or if it will be discontinued but I’ll keep you informed when I receive their feedback. Depending where you buy it, it costs from 1540 usd to 2200 usd approx. If you are lucky enough to buy it in  Japan you will get a more affordable price for this masterpiece.




It comes with 9 brushes and a nylon holder in a beautiful cardboard box and with a plastic tray or protector. At the back there is the name of each brush, sometimes they carry the same name so I adapted the names myself.


When I met Chikuhodo’s President, Mr Shin Takemori and his son Terakado I had one of the most amazing moments. When I took the picture of both, Mr Tesshu Takemori was standing right behind me. Later that morning when we were in Mr Takemori’s office to take a group picture, they wanted to call him but he had just left the manufacture so the only moment I spent with him is when I took this pic because he was there – but unfortunately you can’t see him…  Hopefully when I’ll be in Japan this year I can meet him again and take another picture for you.



This is the elegant cardboard box :



Red inside :




Each brush arrives wrapped separately but I did not take a proper picture before unwrapping… was too excited!  They send it with a plastic protector that serves as “tray” :




You can also use it to wrap them before you put them inside the holder to travel.




It will prevent the cover to be accidentally be pushed against the surface of the brushes since it’s rigid and longer than the brushes :




Here is a view from above, they are tight but they aren’t squeezed :



The holder is flexible, lightweight, looks really nice and is made by Artisan and Artist. I use it as a brush holder at home but I take care that the bristles are neither squeezed against each other nor too short for the sides of the holder, one of the sides is taller and some brushes are just too short and the hair is touching the sides which alters their shape, therefore one side of the holder for shorter brushes, one for longer brushes.



The smaller side is the base, the larger is the top part (I placed it upside down on the first picture with the brushes…). The top part has a little handle.


I was really excited to get it, red and black looks gorgeous together and the way it’s built makes it very functional.


The brushes are not sold separately, but hopefully in the pics you’ll see close options.

I bought the set with my own money and my expectations were so huge that the day I received it I expected “more” from it. I felt some bitterness because guess what ? I was feeling guilty. After having played with it for a little while I thought that it was “great” but that the z-series were just as good. I find the Z-series more dense, more evenly and nicely bundled. The canadian squirrel brushes were a disappointment at first, when I washed them they looked uneven, not that luxurious.

I was very concerned even though I know that canadian squirrel hair is very rare, specially long bristles like these, are they supposed to look that “uneven” ? I did not know… and who could I ask ? That’s when I decided to get the similar Takeda, to be able to compare apples to apples. To my knowledge there aren’t any other similar brushes within other brands, we’ll have to deal with what I have but if you know of other brands who carry similar brushes please let me know!

Since I was able to compare them to the Takeda, today I understand better the price of the Kiwamis 🙂

It took me a few days to absorb the fact I finally had the Kiwami after so so much drooling and it was tough to switch from guilt to pleasure but when I used them, it took me 1 swipe to realize the potential. I was not expecting that, I knew they would be beautiful to look at but I wasn’t expecting that they would perform so well.

The Big Powder brush (grey squirrel)

All these brushes have been made by Chikuhodo, also the Suqqu  :



If you think the Z-9 is huge, think again and see what’s next to it….

It’s not as firm as the Z-9 but the Kiwami is a giant, not as dense either but still fabulous. If you own the Suqqu powder, it has a similar softness, flexibility and density, the Suqqu is just smaller and more directional.

The Z-1 is the most dense and firm of the group, then follows the MK-2, the Z-9, the Suqqu and last the Kiwami which is the less directional.


For size comparison purposes, here it is near other big brushes :


The Louise Young will deliver the heaviest coverage, then the Tom Ford, then the Fu-Shikaden (discontinued), then the G-9, same idea as the Kiwami but denser and more directional.



My HG bronzer is (well, was) the Z-9, today I reach more for the Kiwamis, I don’t even bother for the others at this moment, I may get tired of it but right now I can’t have enough of this set.

You will not get any precision whatsoever with this big powder brush but it will deliver a sheer coverage and make you feel like Cleopatra.

kiwamiloveI use it with bronzer or with powder, and it’s fantastic with some bronzers that are a bit difficult to control when you have heavy hands. I thought I would not use it since I prefer much denser options but surprisingly it does get used a lot.



The other equivalent could be the Suqqu Powder or the Chikuhodo G-9 but the handle of the Kiwami brings a touch of luxury that the others don’t have.

The powder brush (brown squirrel)

After doing a bit of research, brown squirrel could be Kazan or Talahoutky, I am honestly confused and not sure which one it is exactly. In terms of shape and size it’s in between the MK-2 and the Z-9, slightly domed. It probably has the same amount of hair than the MK-2 or even more but it’s just less firm, less directional, meant for powder or bronzer. Sheer coverage but for me, that’s a plus and an addition to other brushes I own that deliver a heavier coverage . So soft and flexible but it still has enough density to pick up bronzers that aren’t powdery (TF Terra for example which has a more hard texture), it’s more adapted for an overall application and not a dramatic or sculpting one.

The body of the hair is different, looks like it has “split” ends, which I think gives the bristles more picking powder and more capabilities to diffuse the product evenly, couldn’t see that much difference but that’s the only thing that I noticed. I wasn’t thrilled at first because it doesn’t look that sleek and beautiful, not sure it is supposed to look like that since it’s the only brush I own of this hair but I find it is a quality.  It’s different than the red squirrel you see next to it. Similar softness but the Kiwami is not as sleek and “slippery”.



Here you can clearly see that the Kiwami does not have a sharp pointed type of hair and smooth surface but today I consider this as a quality.


The way it works is a nice balance between how much it picks and how much it deposits, I don’t feel the need to blend because it won’t deposit too much product, not a great blender either but that is not required for what it is supposed to do.



The cheek brush (canadian squirrel)

The first time I saw these canadian hair brushes just after they had dried, I wasn’t that impressed. They didn’t look that amazing  and I even thought the smaller one had a faulty and uneven bundling. When I first used this brush, my jaw dropped, it probably violently hit something because I felt knocked out for the rest of the day. This happened with both the cheek and the smaller highlight brushes. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have much expectations since I wasn’t that blown away by how they looked but I was certainly utterly impressed by the way they performed.

I don’t have to add that many comments to these two brushes, just that it’s the best material for a blush brush that I ever encountered. I could swear they have been taught to do the job all by themselves. There is something really really special about them, in the way the pick the product and in the way the place and blend. I am completely utterly madly in love, wasn’t suspecting that could happen at all.

I decided that in order to compare them to similar material brushes I had to order the Takeda. The Takeda were also very expensive because this type of hair is extremely rare -specially longer bristles.  Today I was able to compare both brands and I am happy I did because it makes me love the Kiwami even more. The 2 Takeda shown here costed 200$ and 125$.

When you use this cheek brush, one swipe of the product and if it’s a very pigmented blush, don’t worry it will pack enough with just one swipe, then place and blend (that takes literally less than 2 seconds) and wait for the magic. I don’t know if other owners will think the same but I honestly am not over hyping the efficiency. The borders of the blush application are perfect, I compared it to grey squirrel and red squirrel, this canadian is the best result I could ever hope.  The Z-series are also amazing but, if I had to choose, for me it would be super easy, Kiwami 100%. The difference with grey squirrel is not that striking, but I find it easier, when you place the blush the borders are automatically diffused in the best way possible, not too sharp, not too blended, I love when you can see the dimension and that is WORKING IN ONE FLAT SWIPE. I am not a huge fan of flat swipe brushes because I prefer the round brushes but this is an exception. With Tom Ford Wicked it works so well too, so beautiful, even with shimmery blushes or sheerer ones they do deliver.

The Takeda is nice but so much smaller and thin in comparison. The Z-8 is more directional, also a fantastic brush. You can see that the pine squirrel (BP017) is very different and you can recognize them easily, the canadian is more caramel.



The Takeda brush is much thinner and short it is in comparison, it performs well but it cannot be compared to the thickness of the Kiwami.



I took pictures of the brushes against my skin for you to see their size in scale…

The Kiwami :


The Takeda powder :





The Cheek/Highlight (canandian squirrel)

Same comments as above, great performance. The Takeda is much thinner, the Z-4 is denser, rounder, firmer. I put the other brushes in the pic for you to see the shape difference, it’s not a shape you see often, the Yojiya is similar, hair is finer, softer and the brush is denser than the Kiwami but I prefer the way the Kiwami diffuses the product. This blush category is very tough because I love all the brushes you see in the pic, I find them all perfectly achieved. Canadian squirrel hair is another type of “soft”, not as great looking as others but totally stealing the show when it comes to performance.

It depends what you are looking for in your application, one swipe-go is my type of application, controlled, no brainer. Although I don’t want my blush to look clowny I want it to be natural but clearly defined with no streaks and this matches 100% my expectations.



Kiwami cheek/hightlight :



The Takeda highlight :


The Eyeshadow brush n° 1 (canadian squirrel)

That one is a bit different, it’s long. I wouldn’t use it for contour but I would for highlight or setting powder. I prefer the shape of the Tanseido but it would be magic if it had the hair of the Kiwami. The Tanseido is more fluffy and you have more control since it has less flexibility.




The Tanseido is red squirrel hair, same usage as the Kiwami, I prefer to use the 4 brushes on the left for highlight or setting powder and leave the contour/shading application to goat brushes, you could multipurpose them, it’s a personal preference but in terms of efficiency for contouring I prefer harder brushes.






The eyeshadow n°2 – crease (canadian squirrel)

This is as special as it looks, completely drives me crazy. This is the cherry on the cake, a set with such a special brush is rare. So special that I think some of you may be tempted by the set just for that brush.

You see how tapered it is, and this is its shape, it will remain like that. If you prefer a more fluffy no brainer application, better head for Paula Dorf or Tom Ford 13 or the Rae Morris, they are all amazing. This Kiwami just delivers more precise placement, not much blending but I use it with very dark shades like the one in the Tom Ford Orchid Haze for the outer V and I don’t need much blending anyway. I want to squeeze it to death so much I love it!

It has the same firmness as the Tom Ford 13 but I would say it’s a combination of both Tom Ford 13 and 14, a “crease pencil” with enough surface at the top to place a generous amount of color without being floppy and without being too firm.





The most similar option could be the Kyureido Fine-kalla KK004 which is firmer since the hair is shorter.



The eyeshadow n° 3 – lid (canadian squirrel)

When I first saw it I thought I wouldn’t use it that much, was wrong. I do and very often. I love brushes like the Rae Morris 12 or this Kiwami, I am totally crazy for smallest lid brushes but they are often too rough, I will show you how many I own in my Rae Morris review (you will be surprised) but out of the bunch, my fav smaller lid brushes are the RM and the Kiwami because of how soft and efficient they are.



When I apply eyeshadow, I start with the outer v in a way that the eye is elongated, starting from the middle of the lid outwards and up. Then the space left for the light color is quite small because I don’t have big eyes so I use the little brushes to strategically place the color that will open my eyes. On a daily basis this is what I do and the reason why smaller brushes are so important for me. I don’t like layering too many shadows because at the end you just add more powdery effect and the lids when ageing don’t like too many layers anyway.





The eyebrow brush

It’s the same brush as in the Z-series, the Kiwami is water badger and the Z is raccoon.



I don’t see much difference between them and the thickness is the same so I am not sure if one is supposed to be better than the other. I just notice that the water badger has more strength with is great to work more with waxy products and that the raccoon feels slightly softer but on the brows I just don’t see a difference.





The lip brush

The Kiwami is weasel and the Lunasol is kolinsky hair. The application to me feels similar, you get a lot of precision with the Kiwami but my recent discovery of the Rae Morris is taking over the others.



The Kiwami is more rounder at the sides while the Rae Morris is totally flat, the Lunasol is the average between the two in terms of shape. The Kiwami is firmer than the Lunasol so if you wanted something with more direction, you can consider the Kiwami to be on your side. My preference goes to the RM, even if it is synthetic, I don’t use lipbrushes on  a regular basis but the RM makes me want to. That’s just how I feel about lip brushes, not a necessity because if I want a stain of lipstick, I can use my fingers, since I don’t often use very dark lipsticks I don’t feel the urge to reach for the brushes that much.

Recently I am using a lip brush with Tom Ford Sweet Spot and I am really loving it! Makes it softer and more wearable for the office.



The Kiwami is a twist brush, the Lunasol is a push brush.





The handles look like ebony but I did not see where it was written it was ebony…  here’s a pic with other similar looking handles. The finish of the Kiwami is more smooth, they feel incredibly luxurious and more cosy to hold than the Z-series, the ferrule is the same as the Z- series.



You can hop here to see the size of the brushes and more details of the set, if you browse with Chrome you can have the translation. You can also check them here. I don’t think Kohlindo.se have them in stock but I can ask if you are interested.

The set comes with several leaflets or instructions:



If you own this set, please share your thoughts in the comments for the others who are interested, any other thoughts, questions or comments are very welcome and highly appreciated, this will help to balance the pros and cons of the set.

It’s not because I love this set that you must rush and buy it because these are only my personal thoughts, today I am happy I bought it and it does work for me because I have many other functional brushes too. On its own this set will not answer all your makeup needs, you still need other brushes to fulfill other tasks (foundation, blending, etc) but no other set will make you feel as special as this one does. Worth the price ? The Japanese price yes definitely, not sure I would have paid more than that without having tried it first. Depends what your budget is 🙂




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konglishbeauty 25 February, 2014 - 3:24 pm

I have been waiting and waiting for your review on this but with your Facebook and Instagram comments I knew already that one day I will HAVE to own this brush set. Bravo Sonia! It’s brave to spend so much on a set of brushes even if they are by Chikuhodo but I can tell from your review that they are worth it for mad brush collectors. I am now desperate to buy this set and think I might have to find someone in Japan to purchase it for me. The price on now-e-project is so expensive and I imagine there will be a 20% import tax on the item when I receive it to, which will make it too high. I have sent an email to Malin @ Kohlindo but I haven’t received a reply (the site seems to closed at the moment, with most of the styles out of stock).

I can tell that the Kiwami brushes are going to me haunt me in my dreams like beautiful soft spirits until I get my hands on them.

Sweet make up temptations 25 February, 2014 - 5:52 pm

Thank you 🙂 it took me a long time to take that decision though! for sure in that website it is very expensive, specially now that the JPY is lower it was quite interesting. Let me know if you need help finding it!I also know you can contact Chikuhodo and pay via bank transfer, the fees are high but it also could work. Just let me know 🙂

isabel 25 February, 2014 - 8:08 pm

Me encanta la entrada , super detallada.
Sonia, para ir a ver la fabrica de Chikuhodo te invitaron ellos o tu se lo pediste. En mi próximo viaje quiero ir ver a ver las fabricas de chikuhodo y koyudo .

Sweet make up temptations 25 February, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Gracias Isabel!
pues Malin (de Kohlindo.se) me ha puesto en contacto con una amiga suya para poder ir a verles. Creo que puedes simplemente escribirles y decirles que quieres ir, de todas maneras tienen la boutique en la manufacture osea que si les pides seguro que te pueden ayudar 🙂
para Koyudo he hablado con CDJApan.co.uk y ellos me han puesto en contacto pero igual, aunque Koyudo no es tan facil, y para encontrales es un poco dificil. Le escribes a Koyudo y le preguntas, haber si asi ya pueden abrirte sus puertas 🙂 Cuando vas a ir ?

isabel 26 February, 2014 - 6:36 pm

pues seguro no lo se yo queria ir en marzo que tengo vacaciones pero no coincido con las vacaciones de mi marido , así que los mas seguro que ya lo deje para navidades que vuelvo a tener vacaciones , iría sola pero los los cambios de avión me matan en japones me defiendo pero el ingles en mi espina clavada siempre digo que voy a ir a una academia y nada me duermo en los laureles en los viajes mi marido es el del ingles .. le dire a mi amiga en japon también que les escriba a ver .
graciasss.,,, besoss

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 9:19 pm

pues preguntales porque si hablas japones te sera facil una vez en Hiroshima 🙂 dime si los das conseguido o si necesitas ayuda!

Buggsiebee 25 February, 2014 - 9:02 pm

I bought Kiwami set about 2 years ago from e-project – add the 19% tax AND 7% import duty!!! – so VERY pricy, but I bought the set more as a piece of art than an item I intended to use.
Mine was the last set available at the time & I felt so relieved & priviledged when I recieved it. Since then, I learned that limited doesn’t mean limited & the set lost its collectable value for me.I almost sold it to Sonia for exactly that reason. The magnificent form of the crease brush & the brown squirrel brush stopped me from selling at the last minute & now I’m really happy to have kept the set. I have never washed nor used mine, but I will now & intend to enjoy every moment of it.
THANK you Sonia 😀

Sweet make up temptations 25 February, 2014 - 9:16 pm

Buggsiebee, I am happy you kept it! you have to use it now and tell us how you like it (or not, who knows?? we are all different…). In my opinion you are missing on something if you don’t, so go ahead and at least try it!!! 🙂
I have contacted Chikuhodo because I am not sure if there are many more to be made, Mr Tesshu still looks very energetic and he is a very hard working person for his age!

Buggsiebee 25 February, 2014 - 9:17 pm

Oh, and I totally get the dreamy look in your eyes when you stroke the powder brush over your face. Oh my gosh! Heaven on earth!!

Sweet make up temptations 25 February, 2014 - 9:23 pm

Rââââââ really really living it 😀 you should have seen my face when I was using the cheek ones, that was something! I stared at the brush as if it was an alien accessory 😀 honestly! that was a huge moment with a brush believe me!

Bonnie 26 February, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Haha! Not just that one – your expression on each of the facial shots…ecstasy!!

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:42 pm

oh dear… I thought these were the most normal of them 😀
you don’t want to see the other ones!!! hahaha

konglishbeauty 26 February, 2014 - 7:24 pm

Whenever I get an excited look in my eyes these days now my partner asks “Oh no, what’s happened? Have you scalped a squirrel? Is there a goat wandering around the mountain with its ass shaved?”. I explained why quality brushes were so high in price and since then it’s a joke that whenever I’m happy, an animal somewhere in the world has had a haircut!

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 9:21 pm

muahaha we have the same bf at home!

Buggsiebee 26 February, 2014 - 7:47 pm

LMAO @ Konglishbeauty 😀 😀
That had me laughing out loud!!
Poor bald-butted goat, and I don’t even want to contemplate the squirrel 😛
Your partner has a wicked sense of humour 😉

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 9:24 pm

Buggsiebee, did you use them yet ? I am waiting for your opinion 🙂 please as always be honest even if your opinion is completely different than mine, I value it a lot ^_^

212kiki 26 February, 2014 - 8:51 pm

@ buggsie
Hahaha Glad we are not vegan 😀

Bea 2 March, 2014 - 6:29 am

I wanna see the other ecstasy pics lol! 😀

Devin 25 February, 2014 - 11:37 pm

Sonia, you give the best reviews. It is so nice to have an encyclopedia of high quality, hard to find, brushes. This set looks gorgeous but I don’t think it is for me. I have the Z-8 but I never really use it because it is a bit too big for my liking so the bigger brushes would be a waste for me. Thanks for the review, those brushes are beautiful.

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Thank you Devin!
Our needs, products and technique change so maybe you will see yourself using the Z-8 in the future, it is such a beautiful full brush! 🙂
If I ever find individual brushes I let you know…

Devin 27 February, 2014 - 8:43 am

I hope I make a move toward larger brushes too. I am missing out on a lot of beauties. The Z-1 is next on my list so I am taking baby steps toward that huge Kiwami.

Sweet make up temptations 28 February, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Z-1 is a safe step, it’s very directional and will feel under control 🙂

Kay 26 February, 2014 - 1:59 am

Oh Sonia, the photos of you using your Kiwami are so wonderful. I love that the brushes match your hair! I’m enjoying your brushes vicariously as I could never spend that much for a set. But you know how that goes — over time, what seems like a lot sometimes becomes the norm. Thanks for a great review!

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:12 pm

😀 haha ok yes I totally see what you mean! takes time but eventually we do change our minds…

Gladys L. 26 February, 2014 - 4:32 am

The plastic tray is genious!

Even though I don’t own the set (actually very few online people own the set), I know the price tag is supported by good reasons.

1. the kind of hair is hard to collect, Chikuhodo has to pick out the finest quality in continuous purchase of material.

2. Chikuhodo price brushes with longer squirrel hair higher. This factor is more important than the amount of hair strands used. Certainly we cannot deny from the pics that the brush has thicker brush structure than Z series.

3. this set is on-and-off sold out . As told by various retailers and especially parallel good seller, they stock all the very last sets and always tell u this set will be discontinued.

As China RMB is dropping, even the set is on and off unavailable, if more people approach Chikuhodo, I guess they will be more willing and prepared to place new order for premium squirrel hair in order to start another production batch. Chikuhodo is more closely connected with parallel seller (one gradually turns to official distributor/ reseller), so I think making yourself heard is helpful.

People gossip (I didn’t check for news) that Japan will probably pull up the sales tax further to 10% in 2015, early preparation is nice.

Gladys L. 26 February, 2014 - 4:33 am

Also the wooden handle is made of very durable, comfortable touching wood of light weight.

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:14 pm

so far I don’t know the plans for this set but I sincerely hope they will release individual brushes like these!
10% ? that is quite a lot! and another excuse to shop before 2015 🙂
thanks for the infos!

212kiki 26 February, 2014 - 9:00 pm

10% are still less then our 19% and that’s still one of the smallest ones in EU some other countries have 25% 😉

Ann C. 26 February, 2014 - 5:49 am

Yey! The review has finally! I saw this set before in Chikuhodo website, then they post a sign that it is sold out, then they took it out of their website and then they put it back.. I guess when they have the materials they could make this FANTABULOUS set! And I’ve been searching for a review on these brushes so I will know which to prioritized. Gosh.. I so envy you right now.. Lol I’ll continue to lust for this brush set until I got the money for this. Hopefully by then, it will still be available hahaha

Thanks for the review! Can’t wait to see your Rae Morris review also. I have yet to check out my cart coz Im still waiting for your review.lol

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:31 pm

still working on the Rae one, I will have a surprise for the review so hopefully it will be very nice, takes time but you’ll see why 🙂 there is a lot of info in there!
I hope to be able to give you more info on Kiwami but for now I don’t have more, in June if I go I will ask Mr Tesshu directly 🙂

Ann C. 26 February, 2014 - 5:51 am

*finally arrived

212kiki 26 February, 2014 - 9:48 am

What a review ! I totally can understand your first “thats it ?” impression of these brushes. When you spend so much money you want something ultra nice 😀 I really like your “face” pictures 😀
Now i think i really need one or two canadian squirrel blush brushes !!!
With Anna i was thinking about splitting one set because we both dont need/want all of them but then we still have two left 😛

Now i want the koyudo more than before and i’m still trying to get my hands on one of the koyudo canadian squirrel brushes from the set, but no answer about my order/question. So i’m thinking about the full canadian squirel set now 😛 😀 :O
I’m wondering how the koyudo would be in comparision to the kiwami with canadian but i think they are more flat…

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Absolutely! I think I am very lucky that after trying them my opinion really completely changed! phewww
I took these pics because I know you often are more interested in the real scale pics rather than telling the size in centimeters 🙂 but I was really tired from working super extra hours and you can really see that on my face!
I tried to look sane but sometimes while using the canadian one my eyes were o_O and they froze like that for a while 😀

That’s a great idea the splitting!
I will contact Koyudo too because now I am also interested 😀 will keep you posted!

The Takeda are really expensive and very flat in comparison, although they perform well, it’s not the same at all.

212kiki 26 February, 2014 - 2:46 pm

You look great in the pics 😉 The big cheek brush is really huge but the takeda is too flat in my opinion so a middle thing between the small cheek and the big one would be great 😉

Melissa contacted koyudo some time ago, here is the answer: http://forum.sweetmakeuptemptations.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=255
When i tried to contact them about to place a order they did not reply to my messages…i’m not sure why … 😉

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 9:18 pm

I have written to CDJApan to ask about the Koyudo set 🙂 I told them it would be nice if they could contact Koyudo and get some more info (if they could sell separately and if there are other similar brushes)
I will keep you updated 🙂

212kiki 26 February, 2014 - 10:45 pm

Yepp thanks that was my next planed step when koyudo dont answer to my mail from monday 😀

Sweet make up temptations 28 February, 2014 - 5:35 pm

So… got news for you.
The Koyudo set with canadian bristles is not sold separately, but they will receive another set that should be special too (not same material) and that may very possibly be sold separately, but I don’t know how much I can say yet.. but anyway, I don’t know much at all for now!
I did order the canadian set… ooooops … and others will be incoming with this order 🙂
I am glad I don’t have any time at all to go shopping in town because my luxury purchases are concentrated into this topic right now!
it’s just luxury, not a necessity, but I admit, it’s my weakness… 🙁

212kiki 28 February, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Oh new set sounds awesome 😉
Haha you ordered the full set ? I thought something like that after your review here about Canadian squirrel 😀
Evtl when I don’t get the single one I will buy the full set too 😉

Sweet make up temptations 28 February, 2014 - 6:07 pm

yes the full set is incoming 😀
I am not sure they are dense and full but if they are I would be happily jumping around !!! I’ll make sure I give you all the details you need to decide 🙂

212kiki 28 February, 2014 - 6:13 pm

Haha I’m frustrated because I don’t get the brushes I want and my christmas salary is still waiting for some expensive brushes 😀

212kiki 28 February, 2014 - 6:15 pm

I think the koyudo will be more flat but they look nicely bundeled 😉 I need the full set because of the nice box too 😛

Sweet make up temptations 1 March, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Indeed, the box is lovely! can’t wait to see it “again”, I did see it while I was at Koyudo but I did not know at that time how much I would love this hair and honestly I am not that fond of short handle brushes 🙂 but knowing how Koyudo is good at bundling the shapes I really am excited 🙂

212kiki 28 February, 2014 - 6:34 pm

Btw we discovered in SMT forum that midnitedesire seems to have the 2012 red squirrel but with canadian squirrel.

The brush from the echizen set could have a similar shape 🙂 And since she prefer the faulty red squirrel to the new one with real red squirrel i think it should be a nice one 🙂

Sweet make up temptations 1 March, 2014 - 1:47 pm

waw! how lucky she is 🙂 “faulty” hahaha yes that’s true actually! she can send it to me and I can pay her back 😉
just kidding… it’s probably the first time where a faulty brush is even better than the original…
it’s like checking in for a long trip by plane when they tell you “we are so sorry, we don’t have any more seats in economy, we will have to upgrade you to first class… ”
you can still complain if you wish.. although it would really be a shame 🙂

212kiki 2 March, 2014 - 6:20 pm

When I drooled over these more detailed pics last night
I couldn’t resist anymore and placed an order for it too…
But i still NEED the black cheek brush i hope Melissa can do wonders for me or evtl they have changed their mind 😀

BTW the short handles are no problem for me 😉
I don’t know why but the koyudo set is more “I need it” than the Kiwami Set. But who knows….

Sweet make up temptations 2 March, 2014 - 6:47 pm

WAw THOSE pics!! spectacular!
I also saw some of the similar sets here : http://www.kihitsu.jp/?cn=500000&ff=1&scg1005=100061&pgs=3
but nothing compares to those sets!
We are all crazy but these are crazy art masterpieces… <3

212kiki 2 March, 2014 - 7:10 pm

Yapp saw them too when someone posted a link from a new released kihitsu set.
The autumn leaves set was available at koyudo before the red one. Melissa saw a 5 piece set of it somewhere (cheaper 😉 ) but koyudo told her they can’t produce it anymore. The sold out grey squirrel set seems nice too (but in my opinion too expensive at kihitsu) I think I matched the face brushes from this set in one of your koyudo visit pics 😉

212kiki 2 March, 2014 - 7:19 pm

Here is the pic I mean
Matched also the Christmas kihitsu set which is not available anymore…

Evtl cdjapan will get one of these as a new set ??! 😛

Sweet make up temptations 3 March, 2014 - 12:26 pm

I see.. 🙂
no, the upcoming set is certainly something you (and I) haven’t seen at all before 😉

Bonnie 26 February, 2014 - 1:11 pm

*echoes sentiments above* what a review!!!

At first impression, the Canadian Squirrel really doesn’t appeal to me, but I think it gives it a touch of uniqueness and if the hair is really amaaazing for blush, why not!? I am so excited for you – now it makes me want to throw my savings into this endless vacuum of desire for exorbitantly priced brushes…

Your expression is priceless btw 😛

Sweet make up temptations 26 February, 2014 - 1:45 pm

It doesn’t appeal by the look of the hair and then in person they don’t appeal more but nobody will ever separate me from them, ever!!!
I will try to find these (or similar) separately!!
hahaha thank you!!! (now I feel shy)

SJ 27 February, 2014 - 7:01 pm

Fantastic! I also LOVE the pictures of your face with the brushes. It gives a very important perspective to the viewer that cannot be gained by size comparisons to other brushes. I LOVE that you did that. Also, these photos of you with your brushes are super cute :o)

Sweet make up temptations 28 February, 2014 - 5:15 pm

sooo glad they are useful! I will try to do that for each brush I review 🙂
if that helps it’s my pleasure to post them for you!
thank you <3

Linda 28 February, 2014 - 4:00 am

Thanks for this amazing, detailed review, Sonia! Seriously, that look on your face with that HUGE powder Kiwami!!! They need to place that on an ad or something… LOL. I just had the chance to finger the Koyudo Canadian Squirrel set in person, and I get your ecstasy with canadian squirrel hair!! But yes, they look somewhat gnarly, less sleek and glossy as grey squirrel. There’s more flex in it than red squirrel though! Decisions, decisions, decisions!!!

Sweet make up temptations 28 February, 2014 - 5:13 pm

LOL omg you crack me up!!
I just ordered that Koyudo set too 🙂 so I will be able to review it 😉
I know it’s just brushes … but, some buy shoes, handbags, jeans… I only buy brushes 😀

Amy 1 March, 2014 - 10:48 am

Excellent! So very happy that you bought it and enjoying it. This is one set that I truly long for. Currently, I m contemplating between this kiwami or the koyudo Canadian squirrel maki set… What is your view?

Sweet make up temptations 1 March, 2014 - 1:56 pm

My view is not only the contemplating of the brushes but also the usage of them, I am afraid the Koyudo may be a bit too short (handles) but if they are like the Kiwami in terms of efficiency I would really score with two sets like those.
I have ordered the Koyudo yesterday, I wanted to do that for a long time but it was the short handles that kept me away, now that I know how great they can be, I am ready for them.
We can’t always love everything about every product (that’s a point I will mention with the Rae review) but if the benefits are much higher than the disadvantages, there is still a big place in my heart for them 🙂
I will review them as soon as I receive them!

Amy 1 March, 2014 - 5:25 pm

O, I can’t wait for you to receive your Koyudo Canadian set and compare these Rolls Royce of brushes. Did you order the red set? I had the opportunity to test the same set (green handled) at a local dept store during the semi annual japan fair. And I really fell so much in love with the set. For once, I felt the eyebrushes perform almost as well as my Shu brushes, and the face brushes superior to almost all the brushes I own (I had not purchased the Red Squirrel Koyudo then). The price is so prohibitive. However, the vendor sells another set (5 pieces), ie without the biggest powder brush and lip brush, and the 5th brush is an badger eyebrow brush instead of the eyeliner brush (in Canadian squirrel). This set comes with black handle, painted with 2 maple leaves (in red and gold). And the box comes without lacquer, with same brush roll as the red set. It cost sgd 712 instead of > sgd 1200, sold over CD Japan. But I think I like the red set more… Reason being, I really really love big brushes and the lip brush is even more sumptuous than the lunasol’s! And the handles did stuck me as awkward initially, but as I see them more often (I visited the booth ever so often over the last 3 fairs), I came to appreciate the finest of the workmanship. And I believe you’ll love them over time. Enuf of my ramblings… Jus want to let you know I love all your pics you posted of yourself with the brushes… You look every bit in heaven. Let me get back to your review, wanna read them all over again =))

Sweet make up temptations 1 March, 2014 - 6:26 pm

yes the red set here 🙂
actually look at the pic I took when I was over : http://sweetmakeuptemptations.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/koyudo7.jpg
they look pretty full to me 🙂 but the handles they were too short for me to really be interested at that time!
thank you for the description, interesting to learn the options available 🙂
oh the eyeliner… that one is very very awaited! I am so fond of small smudgers and so much in research of good ones 🙂
the lipstick brush reminds me of the lunasol for sure 🙂 we’ll see how it feels…
I look every bit exhausted looool this morning I made sure I slept for a long time, first time in weeks that I can relax!
you are so insanely sweet!!!

Yvette 2 March, 2014 - 8:09 am


I have ordered the entire set of Z series few days ago.
Don’t know how long it’ll take for it to arrive but it is so expensive. But being a brush lover and collector (yes, I keep them rather than using them) I knew I have to have it. Do you know how long it’ll take for them to send out with engraving?

Also, since they are so precious, I’d like to know what did you use to wash your kiwami brushes?


Sweet make up temptations 2 March, 2014 - 10:21 am

Hello Yvette,
waw, I could not resist to using them 🙂
But I totally understand it!
where did you ordered them ?
When I ordered engraved brushes from Hakuhodo it did not take them long to do it, at most 1 more day I think… I don’t think it takes that long but I didn’t order any engraved ones other than Hakuhodo Japan.
I wash them with baby shampoo, mild and neutral (ph)

let me know if you love them ok ? 🙂

Sweet make up temptations 2 March, 2014 - 12:15 pm

Hi Yvette,
have some info (but not sure it helps for Chikuhodo)
I ordered something in the Japanese website of Hakuhodo right now, if I wanted the engraving it was 5 additional days for the delivery date.
Of course I don’t know how fast some would be versus others… but I thought I would tell you anyway 🙂

Yvette 2 March, 2014 - 12:40 pm


I ordered from now-eproject just a few days ago.

But I understand from their website that the order will be dispatched from Japan.

I couldn’t resist having my name engraved on each of the brushes.

I collect brushes more than using them as I hardly wear make-up if I’m just going out for a short while.

But I appreciate them. Ive even reserved the new RMK contour brush, not 1 but 3. But have not found the time to go collect them yet fm the counter. Do you like that brush?

Is using a baby shampoo to wash the brushes better as compared to using a MAC brush cleanser?

Carlyn 2 March, 2014 - 3:01 pm

Hi Yvette, I ordered some Z series brushes from them last month and it took a total of eighteen days for me to receive them and I live in the states. They told me to allow an additional week for engraving. I’m afraid I have little patience and didn’t want to wait any longer so I opted not to engrave. They are so lovely, I’m glad I got them. The cool part is that Mr.Tesshu Takemori himself signed the customs invoice so I kept it. Oh and they wrote only 1000 yen for the value of my 5 brushes and while we don’t pay import taxes unless the order is greater than $1000 here in the USA, it might benefit those who do. Enjoy your full set!

Ann C. 3 March, 2014 - 8:56 am

Oh, that is very considerate of Chikuhodo! Thanks for this info.

Yvette 3 March, 2014 - 9:27 am

Hi Carlyn,

thank you so much for the information. I’m from Malaysia and I was told it’ll take 2 weeks for shipping. I’m so excited with this purchase/splurge.

Since they are so special I had to endure the extra waiting time for the engraving. Had to have it engraved 🙂

I hope they will under declare the value on my invoice too so I would have to pay taxes.

Now I am considering buying the bobbi brown gel cleanser to wash them. Yes, I’m that excited. Already planning to wash them.

Thank you once again for the info. It was really helpful.

Yvette 3 March, 2014 - 9:46 am


I am now looking at some Koyudo brushes.

How do they compare with Chikuhodo brushes?

Worth to buy?

Sweet make up temptations 3 March, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Hi Yvette, both brands have their very high range and lower range, it will depend what range of brushes you have in mind from each of them.
Koyudo are extremely good, each have their best of. Koyudo are extremely worth buying for sure! we all need at least one great Koyudo in our collection 🙂

Yvette 3 March, 2014 - 12:30 pm

Hi Sonia,

I’m looking at their BP High Class Series.

Btw, do you own/like their DEKAfu-pa01 brushes?

Sweet make up temptations 3 March, 2014 - 12:35 pm

The usual goat hair (BP) is better than Mac brushes. When you see “baby goat chest hair” in their description, go for it 🙂 it is super soft, super efficient!! the white goat brushes are divine!
yes I do, I have pics in the blog, it’s a mass of hair, wide surface but hair is nice.

Jeanette 5 March, 2014 - 9:11 pm

I really love Koyudo brushes. Can only recommend!

Jeanette 5 March, 2014 - 9:13 pm

Sonia, does the crease brush resemble the SUQQU M brush?

Sweet make up temptations 5 March, 2014 - 9:19 pm

The Kiwami is longer and has more flexibility and is not as wide, the widest part of the head is 0.9 cm in the suqqu M and 0.7 cm in the Kiwami 🙂 the kiwami is more tapered, I will send you a pic on Friday if you wish 🙂

Jeanette 5 March, 2014 - 9:59 pm

Thanks <3 I'd love a picture 🙂 It sounds like the kiwami crease brush is amazing! Too bad it's not sold separately.

Sweet make up temptations 5 March, 2014 - 10:06 pm

Tonight I can’t take it but I will try tomorrow, if not on Friday I am off so I know for sure that on Friday I can 🙂
yes it is fantastic, now there are some new from Koyudo incoming so we’ll see how they compare 🙂

Cat 6 March, 2014 - 9:27 pm

Pardon me while I clean the drool off my keyboard *cleans drool off keyboard*. Ok, now I that I can write… WHY, OH WHY does Chikuhodo not release these brushes individually? I may or may not be willing to sell a small piece of my kidney for that canadian squirrel cheek brush (is a piece even good for anything?!).

The set as a whole is incredible looking, but I really can’t see myself spending so much an all of them. They should at least consider doing mini-sets! A selection of two or three Kiwamis in different combinations to suit different types of maniacs (I am a cheek brush maniac, see kidney comment above). Ahh a girl can dream…

PS: Sonia, If that is how you look being overworked, I wish I looked like that after my holidays! haha. Seriously you look great, and very happy 😉 Also, thanks to your reviews and shared experiences I finally bit the bullet and ordered 4 Z-series brushes. I am so impatient to get them, thank you! <3

Sweet make up temptations 10 March, 2014 - 8:57 pm

Hi Cat!
Lol I know 🙁 sad sad sad… why don’t they ??
Do not worry I will manage to find similar quality in individual brushes, I really really am in the hunt!
thank you for the sweetest PS 🙂 I am certainly very happy, everybody should have seen my face when I used it the first time, actually I naturally blushed!!! how insane is that ?? 😀 very much

Melissa 10 March, 2014 - 3:13 pm

This set has my name all over it Sonia. But as you know I have other sins lately, which nearly get me bankrupt. But I’m determined to get this set too before they’re sold out!

Oh and I so cant wait for the New Koyudo set you were talking about the other day!!

laura 18 March, 2014 - 1:51 pm

Do you have comment moderation on?

Uh these look lovely for sure. I need to praise you for great website and wonderful blog with texts w/ great fun attitude, so many photos and good info. If I could magically help you out by mailing Japanese brushes, I sure would!

Thanks to you, I decided to get myself some! Spent about 2 hours in Kumanofude speciality shop in Hiroshima, went back, other shop couple times as well…. I will be eating plain rice the rest of this month. Chikuhodo, one Koyudo and one smaaaall shops original brush, mix of squirrel and goat. Also one Kei brush, all squirrel. Not a whole a lot, but for a starving student and all beginner.. enough-ish.

Don’t know if the small shops really interest you, but seemed like the small boutiques carry their own Kumano made goods. (I hope I can purchase more!) Kei and Nao(think under the same name?) brushes seemed great and not too expensive, but I can’t remember if there was a mother factory.. do you know?

Sweet make up temptations 20 March, 2014 - 8:48 pm

yes I do.
Congratulations on your new babies 🙂
In Kumano there are so many manufactures, some companies like Koyudo produce brushes for many other little companies, so sometimes you won’t see Koyudo on them but they are still made by them, sometimes this happens with Chikuhodo and they are labelled something else, same for Hakuhodo. This is normal, not easy to track the mother manufacture because there are many in Kumano!

Tori 27 March, 2014 - 1:23 pm

Congratulations Sonia! 🙂 Your brush collection is probably the most fabulous and brush collection in the world by now! I love the Kiwami brushes though I don’t use them that much because I don’t usually put on a full face of makeup and now that I’m back in uni, I barely have the energy to wash my face every morning. LOL.

Having said that though, the larger face brush is my absolute favourite for blending together blush and bronzer and/or contour. Everything comes together so nicely. I like the bigger cheek brush for blush and the smaller one for highlight and contour. I will say that I prefer the Suqqu cheek over both of them but that’s just because I prefer the Suqqu’s rounded shape and it suits my style of application better. Wayne Goss’s cheek brush is also a favourite, probably on par with the Kiwami cheek brushes, because I like its precision but it doesn’t blend quite as well, which is where the Kiwami large face brush comes in. The smaller face brush is excellent for powder application. It’s actually my favourite powder brush, beating the Z1 and the Suqqu face brush, because it delivers the finest coating of powder so everything looks really natural but you can also add more layers of powder as you need it. My face makeup lasts the longest when I powder with this brush; the loose powders I use are all of excellent quality and the biggest difference, I find, comes from the brush.

My absolute favourite thing about the set, hands down, is the eye brushes. Particularly the two smaller ones. They add colour exactly where you want it to go. Even though their long length and the fact that they’re squirrel hairs would make you think that they’re floppy, that is actually not true. They have a give to them and the hairs are arranged in a gradient though, so they blend as they go and NOTHING comes close to them. I’ve been looking for dupes since I’m worried that something might happen to them and they’re not sold separately.

The lip brush is standard and the eyebrow brush is very good but I prefer the Z series brush because it’s softer and blends out a little better. Results-wise though, I agree that the two perform pretty much the same.

I’ve been babying my set lately but I’ll break it out again once my winter break rolls around. Have fun with yours, Sonia!

Sweet make up temptations 27 March, 2014 - 10:43 pm

Thanks Tori 🙂
I totally get you, finding the energy to even wash or shower is getting tough when over busy 🙁 so I am with you on that one.
Despite that, these brushes are my motivation to fight fatigue 🙂
Thank you also for your feedback and shared experience with the set! I am also thrilled by how the brushes are a great set together!
Same for me, I am looking for dupes and hunt all the canadian ones I can find (ordered one Kokutan from the Hakuhodo site very recently and I am super happy with it!) so for me, from now on, canadian is my fav!
It’s going to be difficult to find dupes for these…
I think I lost two years where I could have enjoyed it but since I have hesitated during all that time I will try to catch up 🙂

Jeanette 30 March, 2014 - 1:26 am

Hi Sonia, it is really intriguing that you feel you lost time when you didn’t have them. With your collection of amazing brushes that really means something!
Which Hakuhodo Canadian squirrel did you buy?
I am so curious to hear how you find the other Canadian squirrel brushes, and if you find dupes 🙂

Sweet make up temptations 30 March, 2014 - 10:35 am

🙂 so sweet!
it is this one : http://www.hakuhodousa.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=36
yes I am looking for dupes and will share the ones I found 🙂

Jeanette 27 March, 2014 - 11:21 pm

Thank you Tori for your opinion on these. Not many people have them!
I would really like to be able to buy the eyeshadow brushes separately, they sound amazing! I use so little powder products on my face, so I don’t need the face brushes. And I like to pick individual brushes, so I don’t buy sets.
I hope Chikuhodo will eventually sell them separately or make other Canadian squirrel brushes to sell individually.

Chloe 29 March, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Oh man. I am so envious of your brush collection! I would love to own a set of some brands but they are so freaking expensive!! Plus the shipping fee to where I’m living (Singapore) is so high and not worth it! I could only get Hakuhodo and Koyudo from some yearly Japan Fairs!

Jeanette 4 April, 2014 - 2:08 pm

*Seriously drooling* ….. If I could just buy the set without the two biggest face brushes. Sigh!

Sweet make up temptations 5 April, 2014 - 9:29 pm

I know … what a shame! they would sell so many more but I don’t think “selling more” is really that important for them, not sure they could cope with the production…

Jeanette 4 April, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Sonia, now that you have the Kiwami set which brushes from the Z series and the other Chikuhodo series would you recommend to supplement the Kiwami set with?
I don’t have any Chikuhodo yet, but I am considering starting to buy some.
(I know you wouldn’t be without any of them, but some may be duplets or redundant) 😉

Sweet make up temptations 5 April, 2014 - 9:32 pm

sure : the Z-5, RC-2 (not a Z series but…), Z-1, for sure these 3 🙂

Jeanette 5 April, 2014 - 9:42 pm

Thanks 🙂 The first two are on my list. Not Z-2? Maybe because you prefer the RM Ultimate Cheekbone for sculpting? 😉

Sweet make up temptations 5 April, 2014 - 9:55 pm

it’s because one of the Kiwamis is also pointy and super similar in size to allow me to work like the Z-2 🙂

Jeanette 5 April, 2014 - 10:21 pm

Great – thanks!

Kristina 25 June, 2014 - 8:39 pm

Bonjour Sonia,

Merci beaucoup pour ton travail rigoureux et passionnant. J’adore te lire. J’essaie d’acheter un ensemble Kiwami de Chikuhodo mais j’en perds mon latin!! Peux-tu m’indiquer comment faire ou du moins me conseiller. Je meure d’envie de me gâter un peu avec ces joyaux comme cadeau de maternité 😉

Merci encore et j’espère que ton voyage en terre japonaise se déroule à merveille. Va chanceuse!!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 28 June, 2014 - 7:19 pm

Hi Kristina,

I will contact you by private email 🙂
je te contacte en privé …
à tout bientôt!

Christine 15 November, 2014 - 10:20 pm

Hello Sonia-

I love this review, you are very lucky to have these brushes in your collection! Do you know if the Kiwami set will be available again? I know it was limited edition but wondering if you had any additional information.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 16 November, 2014 - 6:15 pm

Hi Christine,

Unfortunately the amount of material required for the set is quite high and there is only very little available. I am preparing a tiny post on possible dupes, you can see the possible dupes pic here :
Maybe this post can answer some of your questions… if you want similar functionality, maybe it will. If you wanted the Kiwami, then I had the feeling there are very little chances it will come back and I was told that when I was over in June.

Christine 16 November, 2014 - 8:07 pm

That is helpful, many thanks to you!!

Jeanette 18 November, 2014 - 1:21 pm

Excellent idea, Sonia! Aren’t there possible dupes performance wise among the new white goat Takumi brushes, if you don’t have to stick to Canadian squirrel bristles?

Sacha 29 April, 2016 - 7:51 am

Really hope it will release again… Definitely will buy it ASAP!


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